A Caltech Library Service

Connectivity and Function of the Primate Insula


Park, Soyoung (2016) Connectivity and Function of the Primate Insula. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9F47M2M.


The insula is a mammalian cortical structure that has been implicated in a wide range of low- and high-level functions governing one’s sensory, emotional, and cognitive experiences. One particular role of this region is considered to be processing of olfactory stimuli. The ability to detect and evaluate odors has significant effects on an organism’s eating behavior and survival and, in case of humans, on complex decision making. Despite such importance of this function, the mechanism in which olfactory information is processed in the insula has not been thoroughly studied. Moreover, due to the structure’s close spatial relationship with the neighboring claustrum, it is not entirely clear whether the connectivity and olfactory functions attributed to the insula are truly those of the insula, rather than of the claustrum. My graduate work, consisting of two studies, seeks to help fill these gaps. In the first, the structural connectivity patterns of the insula and the claustrum in a non-human primate brain is assayed using an ultra-high-quality diffusion magnetic resonance image, and the results suggest dissociation of connectivity — and hence function — between the two structures. In the second study, a functional neuroimaging experiment investigates the insular activity during odor evaluation tasks in humans, and uncovers a potential spatial organization within the anterior portion of the insula for processing different aspects of odor characteristics.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Insula, Claustrum, Brain, Primate, Hedonicity, Olfaction, Value, Neuroimaging, fMRI, Diffusion Imaging, HARDI
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Computation and Neural Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Allman, John Morgan (advisor)
  • Adolphs, Ralph (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • O'Doherty, John P. (chair)
  • Quartz, Steven R.
  • Allman, John Morgan
  • Adolphs, Ralph
Defense Date:20 July 2015
Funding AgencyGrant Number
James S. MacDonnell FoundationCollaborative network grant on the VENs and insula
National Institute of Health1P50MH094258
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:01242016-181117777
Persistent URL:
Park, Soyoung0000-0002-3761-7229
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9539
Deposited By: Soyoung Park
Deposited On:28 Jan 2016 20:49
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:11

Thesis Files

PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page